Thursday, November 01, 2007


In the early part of the 21st century, the technologies emerging from the information technology and biotechnology revolutions will present unprecedented governance challenges to national and international political systems. These technologies are now shifting and will continue to affect the organization of society and the ways in which norms emerge and governance structures operate. How policymakers respond to the challenges these technologies present, including the extent to which developments are supported by public research funds and whether they are regulate will be of increasing concern among citizens and for governing bodies. new governance mechanisms, particularly on an international level, may be needed to address these emerging issues.

The governance challenges are emerging because of the very nature of these technologies.
Information and biological technologies have in common that their control and use are largely in the hands of the individual. The technologies that drove the industrial revolution are systematic and complex, and putting them into use requires collective action, social infrastructure, and technical know-how. Information and biological technologies do not have the same large-scale, systematic nature - making it harder to control their dissemination and use. The governance challenge is no longer democratic control over centralized systems- as it was in the 20th century, with such technologies as nuclear weaponry and energy, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, medicine, and airlines - but governance over decentralized, distributed systems. The features that make these technologies different from and their potential benefits greater than those of other technologies increase their potential for abuse.

The mechanisms societies use to control, direct, shape, or regulate certain kinds of activities is what we mean by